It is set in a dreary village in the Schwabian-Frankish Forest where the seemingly reserved Lena lives with her tyrant of a husband, Johannes, in a loveless marriage. Johannes is the village's spiritual leader and Lena is his faithful, ever-ready-to-serve wife. Lena's daily life is characterized by grinding monotony, a life narrowly circumscribed by nursing, organ playing and the duties of the marriage bed. The mysterious murder of a village girl suddenly knocks this humdrum existence off its tracks. In the wake of these events Lena discovers the affection and tenderness for which she has always longed in Paul, the village mechanic. This encounter is the start of an emancipation that leads her not to reveal Paul's secret regarding the girl's murder, for fear of losing her newly won piece of happiness. In turn it means she has to remain silent, as she has always done in her many years of marriage. So it is that this love ultimately turns Lena herself into a fallen angel.
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